These in-their-own-words pieces are told to Patricia Lane and co-edited with input from the interviewee for the purpose of brevity.

Madi Young and other young people in the Youth Climate Corps (British Columbia) are leading people in their communities to connect with each other and take meaningful action on climate change together. This 20-year-old leads the Kamloops crew.

Tell us about your project.

In Kamloops, our team offers the chance to have a meaningful conversation about how to improve your home’s comfort and climate readiness. Lots of people don’t realize that if they fill the leaks in their windows and insulate their roofs, not only will they be more comfortable in the cold or heat, they will pay less for energy. Many people are vaguely aware that solar panels and heat pumps can save them money but they don't think they can afford the cash outlay or know where to start.

We help them understand that they can get significant government financial help even if they are low-income. Times are tough for many people and it can seem like a lot to get through a day without trying to understand how to connect the dots. The pathway may seem intimidating or too time-consuming to be worth it. Our friendly, knowledgeable team of young people can help and make it fun, too!

We are also very excited about our mobile bike valet service. We provide people visiting farmers' markets and special events with a secure place to store their bicycles. We are finding people here really want to bike and this helps them with that healthy and cost-saving choice of leaving their car behind.

From left: Katie McLellan, Madi Young, Shannon Cain and Nic Gillespie at the bike valet for the Memorial Cup in Kamloops. Photo submitted by Madi Young

There are already teams like mine in Nelson, north Vancouver Island and Kimberley/Cranbrook, and the Golden and Vancouver programs will be launching soon. Municipal governments like supporting us because empowering young people to realize their residents’ climate goals is a win for everyone and our planet. Projects differ at each location but include improving local food security by supporting local producers and distributors, simple retrofitting and advice on more complex energy-efficiency measures, wildfire risk reduction and ecosystem restoration. In the process, people’s health improves, more young leaders develop and more people get engaged.

Madi Young, a member of the Youth Climate Corps in B.C., offers useful tips on how to make your home and lifestyle more climate-friendly. #ClimateChange #sustainability #YouthClimateAction

Tell us about your background

My parents emphasized the importance of having fun exploring the parks and trails all around us and we camped and hiked and swam as much as we could. The risk of wildfires means we have got used to making a list of things we don’t want to forget to take if we have to evacuate. It has been hard knowing my home might burn down any summer.

In Grade 9, I saw a picture of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. I was horrified, and as I learned more about climate change from social media and in my science classes, I became convinced that I wanted to do everything I can to end this problem.

I joined my school’s Green Club and in my last year of high school, I was president. Our team of almost 50 built and maintained recycling stations, worked with teachers to reduce waste in shop and arts classes and raised awareness with our fellow students.

I am taking a year out from post-secondary education. I was studying sculpture and while I really believe art is important in raising awareness, I need to make a living. I hope I can find both meaningful work and a decent life.

When I saw the opportunity to work with the Youth Climate Corps advertised, I jumped at it. It allows me to connect with others in my community, advance climate action while making life better and it pays a living wage. It’s a great start.

What makes the work hard?

It requires a lot of patience and compassion to deal well with those folks who are victimized by disinformation and deny that climate change is real or a threat.

Madi Young and Maggie Burwash at a viewpoint in Savona. Photo submitted by Madi Young

What gives you hope?

The vast majority of people we meet want to help and are eager to learn what more they can do to be more effective. We spread hope.

Being part of the Youth Climate Corps British Columbia is such a great learning experience and it is so inspiring to see what others are doing and to hear their stories.

What do you see if we get this right?

As the Youth Climate Corps spreads, more people will feel their municipal governments are doing something to help young people lead us into a better future for everyone.

Do you have any advice for other young people?

Don’t give up hope. There is still time to make a big difference. Yes, we have wildfires and floods and hot weather but the things we do today will make our future better than it otherwise might be. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

What about older readers?

Please take time to listen to young people. We do have insights and it is our future. Many of us remember how much better it was 10 years ago and we want your help and support to avoid the worst outcomes. Yes, you might have to change but surely we are worth it!

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